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Author Topic: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games?  (Read 5807 times)

urlwolf

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I need to mockup some very simple games.
Most of them involving three actions: typing on a textbox, dragging (reordering) boxes, and a countdown timer that you can punch. They are two-person games, where any player can punch the clock if they finish typing faster than the other, and 'win'.

I'm considering using powerpoint and vba to implement a mockup of this. I have zero vba experience but it cannot be that difficult, right?

Ideally, I'd like to find the simplest framework for this kind of games. Maybe a toolbox for children making games for themselves.

Anyone knows anything remotely like this? How would you do it? Flash is sort of an option, but it feels too complicated. I want bigger building blocks, like 5yo lego blocks...

(tinjaw, if you are with us, raise from the dead... I invoke you ;) )

urlwolf

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Ok, up to now I'm empty-handed.
I'm sure there are simple game-authoring tools out there.
If anyone here knows one, please shout.

Deozaan

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Try Stencyl (free) or Game Maker ($40 for v8.1).


urlwolf

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Thanks Deozaan, great pointers! Will come back when I have evaluated them.
I did an attempt yesterday with powerpoint plus vba and the result was not too bad. Of course doing things in html 5 would be great, as they are web-ready directly.

flamerz

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http://kidsruby.com/download

take a look to this... im teaching this one to my younger students, maybe it works for your task too.

iphigenie

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Well I have a pile of links for that..
aditionally to the 3 already mentioned:
microsofts free (on the pc, its 80 points on the xbox) Kodu gathered a lot of praise http://fuse.microsoft.com/page/kodu
there's the classic alice http://www.alice.org/ (but thats 3d)
and mit's scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/
flixel on the open source flash/actionscript front http://flixel.org/

more commercial there's html5 Construct http://www.scirra.com/
sludge http://opensludge.sourceforge.net/

there are also quite a few nice toolkits/engines if you know a language, but the list is too long unless you select your poison

tinjaw

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Of course doing things in html 5 would be great, as they are web-ready directly.

GameMaker:HTML5 will allow you to build them directly in HTML.

I have used GameMaker 7 & 8, but not the HTML5 version. It is what I would actually recommend as my first choice for what you want. It is the easiest to work with if you don't want to program but need to "program" behavior into the game. It has the building blocks that you need to do drag and drop development.

One thing that would probably otherwise be off the radar for most people answering this question is...

Zillions of Games

It is a very simple way to make parlor-type games. Games where you basically just need to build a virtual game board and pieces.

Lots of the other suggestions listed here are great for making games, but they will require you do to programming, which I believe you are trying to avoid.

mahesh2k

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urlwolf

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Ok, I've checked out the suggestions.
It still feels to me that these game frameworks are aiming at 'arcade' or 'point and shoot'-type games. This is fine, but there are some problems:
  • The required skill set to make games like these involves graphical design. Noone of us is particularly good at this.
  • We are aiming at Uni students. Not sure if the casual game feel of the things we can produce with these frameworks would attract them?
  • Parlor games do not seem to be a good match. They usually take a long time and need many people to stick to it. We want short, time-pressured games that can be interspected on other tasks (studying).

What we have in mind has more to do with content, because this app helps you study faster. Apart from dragging and dropping things, writing an answer to a question is the most common behavior. The time pressure component is important, but so is the collaboration (or competition) in real time with another user of the system. This part is more involved on the server, of course. For mockups we are using etherpad.

flamerz

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no need to improve the graphics to look like a pro.

many students can draw the player like a "ball", and the enemy like a "strawberry". (just joking a little.. there are many sprite resources with gamemaker, or 3rd party websites).

i think environments like gamemaker are atractive to students, because they can achieve fast results at first.. and they can add more complex code later.

in another side, i think many users will think they can have a game "like a pro" and they will be dissapointed, trying many software of this type. IMHO its great to start with this.. but you will not get the next call of duty :)

kilele

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Re: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 11:38:26 AM »
for 3d you might be interested in these two engines
unity3d.com
3drad.com

mahesh2k

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Re: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 01:08:27 PM »
I think none of the editor based solutions are going to work for you. Most of these tools are made with indie developers in mind. I think you need to use custom solution or maybe you can start from scratch using python or some other language like c++ ?

iphigenie

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Re: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2012, 04:33:18 PM »
I dont have the links handy but there are entire libraries of free reusable game art and assets both for 2d and 3d out there :)

40hz

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Re: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2012, 06:34:40 PM »
Take a look at Bryan Lunduke's Illumination Software Creator available from Radical Breeze.

They don't offer a trial version per se. It runs about $50 - but they offer a full no-questions money-back guarantee.

You can also download a free Linux live CD full version (it's multi-platform) if you'd like to give it a workout. Download here.

You can see Bryan doing a long discussion/presentation about it on YouTube:



This might be what you're looking for. :)


tinjaw

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Re: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 01:14:52 PM »
It still feels to me that these game frameworks are aiming at 'arcade' or 'point and shoot'-type games.

Yep. That's what game frameworks are. They're to do the 2D/3D stuff that you need to build a game. As the stuff besides the 2D/3D stuff is already available with the core libraries.

Apart from dragging and dropping things, writing an answer to a question is the most common behavior. The time pressure component is important, but so is the collaboration (or competition) in real time

So, you don't need a game framework. You are just building a standard application, a.k.a. a business application. Nothing in that description is specific to games and thus would not require a game framework.

So I would contend that you are looking for one of two things. Either a purpose-built application that creates the type of "multimedia" application you want or a visual programming tool like 40Hz linked to avoid building it in a text editor.

That said, I would suggest taking the things you have already built (with the tools you had) and finding the common elements of those designs and then solicit the various universities and such to find students that are willing to create such an application as an open source project. If such a tool would be of aid to people learning a topic, I am sure the universities will be interested.

But, if you are now thinking, "Well, yeah... That is what I am asking for. i.e. an application to build these 'games' quickly. So you are just saying, in order to build it you must build it." Then I would say that in the most basic form you are asking the general question "How do I make custom programs quickly with the least effort and not having to learn some new programming stuff?"  And the answer I would reply with is do exactly what you are doing. Namely just use the stuff you already know how to use to McGyver up some prototypes that are good enough to determine if the project is worth "spending more resources" on. If it is, then hire/find a programmer that can build stuff for you quickly.